Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event or experience. This event often involves a threat of serious injury or death, but alternatively may involve a threat to personal integrity. Symptoms may include:
- Flashbacks or nightmares of the event
- Intrusive images of the event
- Avoidance of any reminders of the event (e.g. thoughts, feelings, people or places)
- Feelings of numbness
- Intense fear or distress when faced with reminders of the event.
- Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Sleep disturbance
- Concentration difficulties
- Anger or irritability
A formal diagnosis of PTSD requires that the symptoms last more than a month and have a significant impact on the person’s daily functioning.
The preferred treatment for PTSD, recommended by the National Institute of Clinical Effectiveness (NICE), is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) or Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). It is important to say that PTSD can be treated successfully even if the traumatic event took place a long time ago.